This presentation is a follow-up of an earlier presentation
Which is closer, Distance Learning or Traditional classes. As my title implies distance learning is the answer. I will illustrate that with this image… LEARNING CHEMISTRY CLOSE TO HOME WITH DISTANCE LEARNING
The red line is the perimeter of Mesa Community College. The chemistry labs are located in the yellow square. No students live on campus so chemistry labs are not close to anyone.
As we zoom out we see how far chemistry is from students.
Our campus focuses on students in a 180 square mile area. When you think how far students go to do a lab. A traditional lab class should be the one called distance learning.
274 Miles Some students have traveled a few hundred miles to take chemistry classes. One such student came a small town near the New Mexico border.
That students name is Lonnie. He needed an Organic Chemistry class to get into dentistry school. He gave up a $60,000 a year job and had to rent an apartment in Mesa while taking the class. His wife was 6 months pregnant, who stayed at home. Lonnie drove back and forth each weekend. He took my Distance Ed chemistry class & lab electives, which he could anywhere; but he had to travel to our college to take the organic class.
When students make choices they consider the convenience of Distance Ed classes versus the extra travel time and often extra expense of traditional classes. A choice is also made based on their schedule. This often translates to graduating on schedule or postponing graduation.
For example, Jeff is a fireman in a masters program that required he take a chemistry class. His fireman schedule couldnt adapt to to the rigidity of a traditional class.
He was so appreciative that I had distance ed version of a chemistry class that satisfied that requirement.
This has many advantages. First is convenience. For many that's the difference between going to school or not. Having a similar unconventional schedule was Ken who is a bomb squad technician for Phoenix. This distance chemistry ed class allowed him to proceed with his educational goals.
Crystal worked for a company who sent her on week long business trips. The flexibility of my distance ed classes allowed her to do the labs at home when she got into town.
Thank you so much for offering an online lab science class! I couldn't graduate on time without it. - Ryan Evjen Ryan, here, was working on a summer research project in Houston The portable chemistry lab allowed him to take his class with him. This is what he said…
Megan often took her chemistry kit with her when she worked evenings at a animal hospital. When things got slow she could work on her labs. She also learned about the quality of the water and air at the clinic.
Yvonne This is Yvonne, a single mom who juggled classes at Arizona State University and Mesa Community College. She said the distance ed class was perfect for her hectic schedule. She has five children.
I feel especially proud of helping Kathy. She was also a single mother and undergoing cancer treatments. She couldnt attend the normal schedule of a traditional class. I got to see her graduate last May.
After the semester is under way, students may also have to make the choice of staying in class or dropping out. A common reason was they were moving. My portable chemistry kit combined with self paced learning allowed them to stay in the class.
Sam and his wife Melissa had to move to Michigan about half way through the semester. Almost immediately after arriving in Michigan they continued sending in the lab reports and photographs.
Bonnies husband returned from Iraq and got stationed in Texas. She was able to take her kit with her to Texas to finish the class.
Teri was another student who moved, yet stayed in class.
Alyson had to return to her school in Illinois sooner than expected. She picked up her kit early and was able to get the labs done in time.
An important difference between distance ed and traditional chemistry labs is relevance. The labs for the distance ed class relates to the family at home. A traditional lab means you are doing it for others elsewhere. especially regarding health issues.
This is Heath who was anxious to do the lab that uses a portable air pump to collect air samples. His son Hunter, here, was often hospitalized with severe allergy reactions to pollens and molds in the air. The awards belong to his son whose future in sports depends on the quality of air he breathes.
One of the labs checks the quality of water in the home. One test in the lab is for nitrate and nitrites. Claudia found out her water was right on the border of having unhealthy levels of nitrate and nitrites. I asked if she had any babies at home because they are particularly vulnerable to nitrates. She said, no, but her neighbor had a young baby. I told her to test her neighbors water.
Speaking of relevancy, how important is knowing the ozone level that your children are breathing? Ginger is showing the ozone detection strips she will use at home.
Cale, a junior high teacher, is checking out the efficiency of filter materials with his daughters help.
Tonya has two daughters at home that shes concerned about.
My students always saw the relevancy of the experiments because the results gave them knowledge that impacted themselves and their children. No experiment in a traditional chemistry lab has that level of relevancy. My students always saw the relevancy of the experiments because the results gave them knowledge that impacted themselves and their children. No experiment in a traditional chemistry lab has that level of relevancy.
As you noticed there are different participants in distance ed versus traditional classes. Distance Ed labs can involve family and friends. For a traditional lab, they do it alone or with a lab partner, usually someone they dont know.
I first want to point out that the chemicals in the kit are very safe. On the zero to 4 national fire protection association scale for health, nothing is over 1, which is the same as chalk.
This is Andrea, she lives in California and often would have her younger brother help her.
Tanya has two boys and a neighbor who is a chemist who also has two boys. Normally, its the chemist next door that plays Mr. Wizard with the boys. But the semester she did the lab, she was the wizard.
Yvonne said that normally when she did school work, she had to tell her five children to leave her alone. But when she did these labs, she was happy that she could involve them.
For example, two of her kids are digging a hole to find a soil sample
Another one has cup ready to measure the soil sample.
And she gets to stir the sample to extract the soil nutrients.
In another experiment that utilizes a spectroscope, all of her kids got to learn how to tell the difference between the spectrums of energy efficient lights and energy wasteful lights.
Lonnie involved his mothers friend, Noreen, in preparing borax crosslinked polyvinyl alcohol. Also known as slime.
The lady in the middle is a middle school teacher who was a mutual friend of the two guys. The guys were taking my distance ed chemistry class but she did the labs with them so she could learn what demonstrations she could use in her classes.
Another important consequence of having chemistry kits at home has to do with science literacy. It derives from access. With the kit at home students have full access to these tools. In a traditional classes, it is very limited. In addition, students doing labs at home see the knowledge applied. In a traditional class, even hands-on activities seem theoretical to them.
We all probably recall the days that having a computer at home seemed far fetched with limited usefulness for individuals. But when computers got into the homes, we found that computer literacy soared and there was much more used than anyone realized. In a similar manner, if we get the tools of science in the home, science literacy will soar and we will promote critical thinking and independent investigation.
Lonnie was about to buy a home water purification system and luckily just finished a lab that tested different filters. He said he was more than ready to discuss the issues with the vendors who were calling him.
In a related story, Alyson was approached by a door to door purified water salesman. He told her that water in her area was bad, which she already knew because she tested it. He said that his company would do a free analysis of her water…
Instead of giving him her water, she gave him a sample of that companys own water. You see, her neighbor had regular deliveries of that water and had given Alyson a jug of it. The salesman took the water and returned the next day telling her how bad her water was. She revealed that the water she gave him was the same water that he was selling.
I was happy to hear that Thomas, the young brother of my student, Marie, had set his sight on becoming a chemist because of the positive experience he had helping her.
I wanted to personally thank you for this class, I am 41 yrs old and have always hated and disliked chemistry. You have provided me the opportunity to discover the benefits and actual application in my day to day life regarding chemistry.-Juli This is Juli. This is what she said about the class.
Rachel involved her son with the experiments. Her son was having some trouble understanding the filter experiment so Rachel wadded up some screen material and showed her son how it could allow water though while blocking pebbles, thus demonstrating how a mechanical filter worked.
Cale had done the experiment with sodium polyacrylate which absorbs 300 times its own weight in water. In the experiment it was created as a soil substitute.
However, he told me that he also used the saturated crystals to provide water for crickets that he fed to his collared lizard. The crickets would often drown in liquid water, but the sodium polyacrylate provided the crickets water without the hazard of drowning.
Learning Chemistry Close to Home with Distance Learning has many benefits.
First of all, a portable chemistry lab truly brings chemistry home.
Using green chemistry practices, safe chemicals and experiments can be devised and ones relevant to their everyday life can be designed.
18 tests of soil, water, and air Evaluation of different types of water filters Energy Experiments Creation of Polymers Light spectrum analysis UV light detection
Used cooking oil (biodiesel) Paper & Plastic Recycling may be more than simply tossing items in a recycle bin. With a little chemistry students can recycle their own items
For example, I am teaching a Community Ed class on how to make biodiesel from used cooking oil. Even organic synthesis can be done at home.
I love when students come by to pick up the kit. I feel science education is being exported to where it will do the most good.
Science will be connected to thei vehicles they drive. For example, I have them check the exhaust of their vehicle.
Im please to see my college students getting their kids involved.
Its great to see smiles on their faces as they send me digital images of themselves doing the labs.